“Be the change you want in the world… If you want less hatred you must hate less yourself. If you want less polarization, you must be less polarized. If you want peace in Bahrain, you must be an example of peace” – Suhail Al Gosaibi
Suhail Al Gosaibi, Chairman of the Bahrain Foundation for Reconciliation and Civil Discourse, has held an extensive interview with BTV’s “Bahrain Today” programme, discussing the activities he is involved in to promote reconciliation in Bahrain’s society.
Suhail emphasized the importance of bringing Bahrainis together in order to dissolve the myths and misconceptions about how people from other parts of society think about the situation in Bahrain.
For this reason, Suhail’s reconciliation foundation has been holding regular dinners to bring together people from both sides of the political divide. These events aim to demonstrate that Bahrainis share more common ground that they may realize and that various stereotypes about people from other sects or segments of society are simply false.
Suhail spoke positively about the success of this activity in increasingly reaching out to different components of Bahrain’s society, but noted that some of those at the “extreme” ends were still resistant to participating.
Suhail stressed the role that parents play in perpetuating certain stereotypes in their children, depending on how they react to certain situations. When our children hear us talking angrily and abusively about a certain segment of Bahrain’s society, they are absorbing these ideas and this anger. Reconciliation “starts in the home”, he emphasized.
Therefore, we Bahrainis have to “be the change” and act as role models for others around us in spreading the spirit of reconciliation and national unity.
He warned of the particular danger of young people becoming polarized and radicalized in a manner that may take many years to address: “If a teenager grows up with extreme views, it is very difficult to undo those.”
Suhail warned: “If the youth feel disenfranchised and they don’t feel communicated to, then this doesn’t bode well for the future of any country.”
“Keep hope alive;” was Suhail’s final message, emphasizing the role that each Bahraini must play in creating a climate where reconciliation becomes possible.